What’s New in Reporting Services in SQL Server 2016 CTP 2.3

UPDATE: SQL Server 2016 is now available.

We’re excited to announce that we’re investing in a number of enhancements to Reporting Services in SQL Server 2016, drawing largely from the wealth of valuable feedback you’ve taken the time to share with us. With SQL Server 2016 CTP 2.3, now available for download, you can take a sneak peek at some of our work in progress, while there’s more to come in upcoming monthly CTPs.

Report rendering for modern browsers

We developed the foundation of Reporting Services’ current HTML renderer at a time when Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator were the dominant browsers and each had its quirks. The web has come a long way since then, with modern browsers optimizing for web standards like HTML5 and CSS3. While we’ve updated our HTML renderer over those years, it’s become increasingly difficult to do so around a core optimized for Internet Explorer 5 “Quirks” mode. More and more of you are using modern browsers and seeing reports that don’t look quite right. It was time for a change.

Much like the Microsoft Edge team has taken a break from the past with a new browser and rendering engine, we’re taking a similar approach with Reporting Services: We’ve forked a new renderer that outputs HTML5 and sheds the baggage of legacy browsers and their quirks. We want your reports to look correct and consistent across modern browsers.

Our new HTML renderer is a work in progress and you might notice some issues, so during this preview phase, we’ve enabled you to switch back to Compatibility Mode if needed, and we’re also asking for your feedback.

Report Builder with a modern theme

One of our themes for SQL Server 2016 is enabling you to design beautiful, modern reports using modern tools – Report Builder and Visual Studio. Report Builder continues to provide a simpler report design experience with a familiar, Microsoft Office-like look and feel. The current version of Report Builder still uses an Office 2007-era theme, so it was due for a refresh. With SQL Server 2016, you’ll find an updated version of Report Builder with a modern dark gray theme, which you might recognize if you’ve had the chance to try the Office 2016 Preview or Power BI Desktop:

We’re not quite done, so you’ll notice some rough edges. Updated icons are coming in a later CTP, for instance.

For developers who prefer a Visual Studio-integrated report design environment, we’re working on making a preview of SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) for Visual Studio 2015 available later this year.

More to come

We’re just getting started. We’re releasing earlier and more often than ever before and using your feedback to refine along the way, an approach we honed working on Power BI in the cloud and are now applying to our on-premises server releases as well. Look forward to more progress and enhancements in upcoming monthly CTPs.

Try it now

  • Download SQL Server 2016 and install Reporting Services.
  • Publish your reports and give them a whirl in Edge, Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, or Safari.
  • From Report Manager, you can also install the updated Report Builder.

Send us your feedback

How do your reports look in your favorite browser with the new HTML renderer? Thoughts on the new Report Builder theme? Any other feedback? Share it with us in the Reporting Services forum, or if you prefer, send us an email.